For a Sick Prayer Meeting

HAS your prayer meeting been a bit anemic lately? The secret for bringing it back into good health may lie in the Sabbath school. . .

HAS your prayer meeting been a bit anemic lately? The secret for bringing it back into good health may lie in the Sabbath school.

Have you ever had the privilege of sit ting in a Sabbath school class so well taught that everyone groaned slightly when the second bell rang? Did you have the feeling that the class was the high light of the entire Sabbath service? Why not ex tend this pleasant experience on into the midweek prayer meeting?

Ellen G. White indicates the ideal prayer meeting is: "spiritual and social," "lively and interesting," and that "formality . . . should be laid aside" (Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 579; vol. 1, p. 146; vol. 2, p. 578). I would like to venture a guess as to one reason why you enjoyed that Sabbath school class so much. It was because you had a chance to participate personally. We live in an age when almost everyone wants a piece of the dialog. What our people do not necessarily need on Wednesday night is another full-dress sermon. Now for the plan. Why not begin by taking a survey among the church members to find out what topics they are particularly interested in, and what their real needs might be? Then each week assign one of these topics in advance, so that participants can do some reading and thinking ahead of time.

The meeting itself should start on time even though only two persons may be present. A single song is sung, and a brief prayer offered. The session is not held in the sanctuary, but in a room where chairs can be placed in a circle facing one an other. A preassigned layman introduces the subject with a five-minute opener, and the discussion is under way. The pastor's only duty is to keep things moving, and to see that one or two people do not completely monopolize the conversation. He may also want to make a two-minute summary at the close.

Remember that Sabbath school class? Forty-five minutes from the time the meeting began, while the discussion is still at its peak, ring that "second bell." Don't let things run their course, become boring, or die down. Quit while everyone's appetite is still unsated, so that they will be back next week for more.

The last fifteen minutes could be spent in prayer and closing formalities. In Testimonies, volume two, page 578, Sister White suggests that a season of prayer should be no more than ten minutes in length. Those who pray on and on are "prayer meeting killers." Have the courage to deal with such individuals in a private and tactful way. Vary this final portion from time to time by allowing participants to testify to the Lord's goodness. And don't forget a one-minute appetizer concerning next week's discussion.

The Spirit of Prophecy states that "prayer meetings should be the most interesting gatherings that are held" (ibid., vol. 4, p. 70). Why not try this prescription and see if it doesn't do something to build your Wednesday night attendance?


Ministry reserves the right to approve, disapprove, and delete comments at our discretion and will not be able to respond to inquiries about these comments. Please ensure that your words are respectful, courteous, and relevant.

comments powered by Disqus

August 1970

Download PDF
Ministry Cover

More Articles In This Issue

The Divine Imperative

"PREACH the gospel." This crisp, pregnant command of our Lord to His disciples on the occasion of His ascension, centralizes and defines the activity of His church. Evangelism was, and is, and must be the all-absorbing activity of the church of Christ. Medical, educational, social, and philanthropic works are integral aspects of Christianity, but only in relation to its chief commitment evangelism.

Uniformity and Catastrophism (Concluded)

THE concept of uniformity has delayed the progress of geological science be cause, as we believe, the past history of the earth has experienced one major catastrophe episode that has been unrecognized.

Avoiding "Heir Pollution"

Not only has man's physical environment near the cities been dangerously polluted but the spiritual degeneration that brought judgments to Sodom again typifies city life of this last generation.

Liturgical or Free?

THERE are some churches or denominations that are known as liturgical churches because they follow a tradition in their order of service that has been developed through the centuries. The Roman Catholic Church has a well-developed liturgy in the mass. The Lutheran and the Anglican churches both have a liturgy that was derived and modified from features of the Roman Catholic service. There are other liturgical churches, and the history of the liturgy is a long and interesting one.

How, Where, and When to Appeal for a Favorable Decision

WE DO well to contemplate frequently how much Jesus accomplished in a short ministry of three and one-half years. He plowed a furrow for good across the world which far exceeds all that the great philosophers, teachers, and leaders of all ages did put together. Why? Because He knew how and where to strike in all that He said and did.

Evangelistic Conservation

THERE is the possibility that one fourth of your church members will apostatize in the next ten years if the trend of the past ten years continues. According to recent statements by a General Conference leader more than 325,000 persons have left our worldwide church in apostasy since 1958.

Doctrine of Revelation and Inspiration (Concluded)

IN TURNING next to the discussion on inspiration, the Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:16, 17: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works."

In Search of the origin of the Sabbath (Concluded)

The results of Meesters' investigation of the theories of Sabbath origin are thus almost entirely negative. He will doubtless be accused of having handled and rejected too many theories in too short a treatment to give them adequate consideration (this section of his book amounts to 83 pages). He will also be accused of hypercriticism and of rejecting any theory with which a difficulty can be found. The fact is that scholarly conclusions can seldom be based on absolutely unequivocal evidence, and Meesters sometimes gives the impression of demanding just this. . .

View All Issue Contents

Digital delivery

If you're a print subscriber, we'll complement your print copy of Ministry with an electronic version.

Sign up

Recent issues

See All
Advertisement - SermonView - WideSkyscraper (160x600)